Why report on a phenomenon that is commonplace, affecting an estimated 85,000 women in England and Wales every year? Rape isn’t news. By contrast, criminal convictions for lying about rape, such as the 10-year sentence handed down to Jemma Beale, command our attention precisely because they are unusual.
Twenty five-year-old Beale, found guilty of four counts of perjury and four of perverting the course of justice, has made international news, with headlines describing her as “attention-seeking” and “a serial liar”. It’s hard not to detect the sense of relief that accompanies the sharing of reports on Beale’s crime.